Harry Potter and Philosophy Essay Two: The Dursley Deception

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Harry Potter and Philosophy Essay Two: The Dursley Deception

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Muokkaaja: marraskuu 3, 2009, 10:09 am

This time I'm just going to post all my notes at once, but they're numbered, so they should be easy to reply to.

1. Self-Deception pros and cons, where do you land in the debate?
2. Hsieh uses the opening pages of SS/PS to exemplify self-deception (25) but prior to Harry's arrival, what harm is such deception really doing? (I haven't read the whole essay yet, perhaps I'll find out!)
3. Hsieh lists a number of events from the first five books that serve to "remind" the Dursley's of magic, the last of which is Dudley's encounter with the Dementors, "Because such magical events contradict Vernon and Petunia's deceptions, they consistently generate explosions of fear and rage. Only the last is traumatic enough finally to melt away Petunia's longstanding "furious pretense" about magic. The Dursleys are thus unable to make their self-deceptions about magic stick, but not for lack of trying." (27) As the series continued, do you think the Dursley's continued to practice self-deception, or was the attack in OotP the final straw? In HBP, they ignored the mead, but were they trying to pretend that magic didn't exist, or just being stubbornly biggoted?
4. "Vernon and Petunia's fear and hatred of all things magical cannot, by its very nature, be limited only to things magical...Thus the Dursleys' self-deceptions about magic must cast a wide net, encompassing 'anything even slightly out of the ordinary' and 'anything acting in a way it shouldn't' whether in dreams, imagination, or fiction." (29) I'd always thought of the Dursley's aversion to magic as a result of their need for things to be ordinary, but this implies its the other way around, which makes more sense after the revelations of DH.
5. Cornelius Fudge is another good example of a self-deceiver (30) are there others in the story? DD in his time with Gridelwald? Any others?
6. "Unlike Petunia's self-deceptions about magic, those about Dudley do not seem to be motivated by any pressing emotional distress. Yet we might suspect that her emotion-driven deceptions about magic set the stage for her deceptions about Dudley. By the time Dudley was born, Petunia already had accepted the tacit principle that her emotions take precedence over the facts." Yikes! What do you think?
7. A lot of us are ticked at DD through most of OotP, some believing it to be a huge plot hole. Hsieh says: "And after the abble with Voldmort in the MoM, DD risks Harry's respect and affection by insisting upon taking the blame for Sirius's death from him, for DD knew but kept secret "Voldemort's likely plan to lure Harry into the Department of Mysteries. Hard and painful truths do not deter {DD} from seeking and acting upon {his} knowledge - and without this fundamental honesty, all of their other virtues would be of little use." (34) Why is DD's honesty after the fact a virtue, wouldn't it have been more virtuous to have been honest from the get go? Does Hsieh's argument lose weight with this example?

marraskuu 3, 2009, 10:47 am

Just making sure this didn't say to ignore it. ;)

I'll get going and put up notes in a while.

marraskuu 3, 2009, 6:41 pm

Well there's self deception and there's ignorant bliss. Most "muggles" live in a state of the latter but the Dursleys KNEW! they knew from the beginning so While they might have tried to ignore Harrys ability they were forced many times even if only in their mind to acknowledge it, in order to make up stories to cover it from others, That to me does not spell self deception.

Its possible that if Harry had never come to live with them, they could have convinced themselves that the Potters were undesireable family members to be avoided at all costs.

I think that in Dudley Demented they were still trying to play the "Blame Harry" game but later in HBP, I think they ignored the mead with the rudeness that you might experience at a party if you offer refreshment to someone who does not want to talk to you, They ignore you and walk on by

Other self decievers? How about Voldemort himself? Believing that he had made himself invincible!

I think the Dursleys would have spoiled Dudley no matter what. I have seen the same situation where I report misbehavior to a parent and they get huffy..."My child? My child wouldn't do that! My child is too sweet and perfect, The other children must be to blame, not my little angel!

I agree that Harry may have handled situations differently if he'd had all the facts, And that made me so mad at DD! I do feel it was somewhat out of character

marraskuu 5, 2009, 12:22 am

I've read Harry Potter and Philosophy, although it has been a few years.

I think the Dursley's deception, especially Petunia's, comes from Petunia's past. We learned in Deathly Hallows that she wanted to go to Hogwarts and be a witch, just like her sister, Lily. I think the letter Petunia received (the one DD wrote telling her that she couldn't go to Hogwarts), caused her to have some self-reflection. She probably went through the usual phases of shock, anger, denial, etc. When her emotions subsided, she put the issue behind her. She tried to have a moment of self actualization (think Maslow's hierarchy), but it never came; instead, she overcompensates with the lower level of Maslow's hierarchy (physiological needs (i.e. food and shelter), love, and safety) with her family.

I think Voldemort's deception was most noticeable during the final chapters of DH. When he first learned Harry was after the Horcruxes, he denied it to himself.

As I re-listen to Chamber of Secrets, I came across a moment of Fudge's self-deception. When he arrests Hagrid, he tell DD "I've got to be seen doing something." Even though he knows that Hagrid is innocent, he'd rather do something that's immoral (arresting and jailing an innocent man) than to do the moral thing (discovering the real culprit).

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 5, 2009, 12:49 am

i agree that voldemort is a better example of self deception..

when i first read the essay i thought "wow this explains so much!" but then looking at the questions I don't know if the Dursleys' actions support the author's claim of self deception toward magic. i think they were generally disgusted with the "m" word and didn't want anything to do with it but i don't think they were denying to themselves that it existed.

i do feel like Petunia's denial of magic made her more likely not to believe anything bad about Dudley and like polly said parents do it all the time.

helmikuu 8, 2010, 9:49 pm

I wish Dobby could have had a little self-deception! He seemed to have the opposite problem: a lack of self-respect.